ISBM Pulse: Sales

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missing puzzle piece

Dynamic Governance Matching in Solution Development (Colm, Ordanini, and Bornemann)

B2B firms are increasingly shifting to offer service solutions as competitive and commoditization threats increase. However, much of these shifts to service-oriented offerings have generated mixed results. The authors investigate this problem as a governance problem and highlight that the different phases of solutions development (experimentation, integration, and evolution) expose actors to various governance tensions.

broken heart

Understanding the Impact of Customer Relationship Disruptions Resulting from Salesperson Change (Schmitz et al.)

It is widely believed that a B2B relationship disruption, which refers to the change of the salesperson in a customer relationship with another salesperson within the same firm, results in negative consequences such as a loss of customer knowledge, diminished interpersonal trust, and increased uncertainty. However, some B2B relationship disruptions also have positive effects that countervails some of the negative effects of disruptions. Results of this study indicate that relationship disruption can decrease resale value by 28.8% but it can also revitalize the relationship and increase new sales revenue by 52.2%.

shaking hands

Leading Sales Teams Through Uncertainty

What works for selling in times of economic expansion is not what works for selling in times of crisis. In addition, between 25% and 50% of the sales professionals in US companies never had to sell during an economic downturn… and thus, ready experience on dealing with selling in crisis is not abundant. This Harvard Business Review article on leading sales teams through uncertain times describes three principles that were useful during the 2001 crisis.

Disentangling the effect of services on B2B firm value: Trade-offs of sales, profits, and earnings volatility (Nezami, Worm, and Palmatier)

Many B2B manufacturers have moved from their previously successful product-centric strategies to more service-oriented business models. Yet despite their substantial investments in services, firms fail to understand the performance ramifications of these offerings. With a longitudinal data set of 227 B2B manufacturers listed in the S&P 1500 index, this study disentangles the simultaneous effects of financial-based mechanisms that link the service ratio (i.e., share of a firm’s revenue generated from selling services) to firm value.

origami pig

Winning Strategies for B2B Marketers Facing Tough (Or Even Easy) Times

During turbulent times when you’re not sure what to do, it helps to remember that this won’t last forever. Step back from the anxiety with action. Gather your data and your teams and prepare to come out on the other side in a stronger position. ISBM B2B Pulse brings you timely (timeless) advice from Director Emeritus, Dr. Gary Lilien. In his article ‘Winning Strategies fro B2B Marketers Facing Tough (Or Even Easy) TImes’, Gary Lilien describes three actions that firms will likely take to come out of this crisis healthier than before.

chess pawn with a gold crown

Gaining Competitive Advantage with Service-Dominant Logic

In this chapter, an introduction to service-dominant (S-D) logic is provided and used as a platform to explain how firms can use this logic to develop strategies that provide them competitive advantage. A brief review of the foundational premises of S-D logic and the expanded view of resources upon which S-D logic is grounded is provided. This is used to discuss how firms can develop strategies centered on developing value propositions that offer service flows rather than tangible goods. This strategy is enhanced by an understanding of the service ecosystem the firm operates within and how to sense and respond in this system. Finally the importance of conversation and dialogue with other members of the service ecosystem is discussed.

man wearing blue and yellow shoes

Coordinating Marketing and Sales in B2B Organizations

This chapter focuses on the topic of the coordination of marketing and sales activities in B2B organizations. It first provides a brief historical overview of the topic, including the recurring prescriptive advice that has been offered to practitioners and why this advice seems to have limited usefulness. This chapter then reviews some common delineations of marketing and sales activities in companies and their implications: both groups have inherent interdependencies and necessary differences. It concludes with a discussion of what some B2B companies have done to improve coordination between their marketing and sales functions, as well as some suggestions for further research.

darts board with darts

Business-to-Business Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is a dynamic business decision process driven by a theory about how markets function. This chapter reviews B2B market segmentation from both academic and business perspectives to clarify its potential effectiveness. major challenges of using B2B market segmentation, followed by a consideration of several activities required to complete a successful segmentation process. This analysis sets the stage for a discussion of directions for research that should be considered to improve the process and practice of B2B market segmentation.


Salesperson Effectiveness: A Behavioral Perspective

Salespeople are the principal vehicle through which B2B firms, particularly firms with a complex and differentiated offering, communicate and exchange information with their customers. Wotruba (1991) identifies the following roles for salespeople within a firm’s marketing program: (1) informer; (2) persuader; (3) problem solver; and (4) value creator. This chapter focuses on the different sets of knowledge, skills and abilities required by salespeople in the various roles.

spider web

Boundary Work and Customer Connectivity in B2B Front Lines

To build long-term customer relationships, salespeople play a critical boundary-spanning role that can be an inimitable source of competitive strength. A key characteristic of such roles is the boundary work that salespeople perform to develop strategies and tactics to manage their interfaces with customers. The purpose of this chapter is to motivate development of boundary role theory that responds to emerging realities of boundary work and stimulates an organizing framework to germinate new directions for theory and practice. Specifically, the chapter’s objectives are twofold. First, the chapter provides a focused review of the boundary role research in B2B contexts. Second, the chapter describes features of boundary work that demand a strategic perspective and rethinking of the premises of contemporary boundary role theory.